I’m suffering from a mild case of Post Family Gathering Letdown. Some may rejoice at escaping their family gatherings, but because I enjoy mine so much, the end effect is one of sadness that lasts for a few days until I get back into the routine of regular life. That does not mean that Easter weekend was entirely free from challenges.
Take Friday night for example. The toddler refused to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor, despite a comfy, state-of-the-art air mattress. He spent two hours wriggling around, sliding off the mattress onto the wooden floor, losing his precious giraffe in the dark depths of the bag, demanding water in a loud voice, and being generally uncooperative. My husband finally put him in the big guest bed, at which point he drifted off instantaneously. Later that night, when we tried to move him to the floor, he caused such a fuss that I thought he’d wake up the entire household and agreed to let him sleep with us – just this once. It was the worst decision I could have made. To make a long story short, my husband spent a sleepless night on the floor and I spent an equally sleepless one in bed with our son, seething in helpless rage at the situation that angered me mostly on principle.
The Easter celebrations, however, lived up to my greatest expectations, just as I’d hoped in my last post. The meal was to die for – another Middle Eastern spread that stuffed all twenty-four of us to the gills. My auntie’s “rockin’ Moroccan stew” over couscous, grilled chicken kebabs, lamb patties, fresh hot pita, labaneh, baba ghanouj, marinated olives, lentil salad, carrot salad with orange blossom water, and spinach-feta spanakopita, all finished off with a sticky toffee pudding cake with caramel sauce. Ahh, ’twas divine! (I’m seriously considering replicating the menu for our next Supper Club meeting.)
We painted our pysanky eggs, as you can see in this picture.
The best part of all, though, was the music. On both Friday and Saturday nights, all musicians got out their instruments and started to jam. We began with classical music – some Bach Inventions and Massenet’s Meditation, which quickly turned to jazz and a bit of Brazilian music, and eventually became as close to a real Celtic ceilidh as you can get. I fiddled till my hands ached and my brain ran out of songs to play. One uncle on the piano, another on the guitar, a cousin on the drums, someone shaking maracas, and everyone else dancing, dancing, dancing till breathless and worn-out. ‘Turkey in the Straw’ was the big hit; I must have played it at least three times each night!
There’s something absolutely exhilarating about being with a group of people who can create a party out of nothing more than themselves and the various talents they possess. With a healthy mix of good food, nice wine, great music, a welcoming space, and enthusiastic guests, a real party is inevitable.
So, as you can imagine, home feels rather quiet. My exhausted, over-stimulated children are finally asleep in their own beds and I’ll be catching up on some much-needed sleep, but I already miss the energy of the past two days. Surrounding myself with such creativity and talent, such passion for life, and interesting, stimulating people always revitalizes me. I feel ready to take on the world, tackle it with renewed intensity.
I suppose that’s perfect timing, considering it’s my birthday tomorrow – a chance for a fresh start on a new year. Happy Easter to everyone!